Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom (1953)

Approved  |   |  Animation, Short, Comedy  |  10 November 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 889 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 3 critic

A crash course on the history of Western musical instruments.


, (as C. August Nichols)


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Uncredited cast:
The Mellomen ...
Singing Group (voice) (uncredited)
Loulie Jean Norman ...
Penelope Pinfeather (voice) (uncredited)
Charlie Parlato ...
Chorus Singer (voice) (uncredited)
Bill Thompson ...
Professor Owl / Bertie Birdbrain (voice) (uncredited)
Gloria Wood ...
Susy Sparrow (voice) (uncredited)


In this short subject (which mostly represents a departure from Disney's traditional approach to animation), a stuffy owl teacher lectures his feathered flock on the origins of Western musical instruments. Starting with cavepeople, whose crude implements could only "toot, whistle, plunk and boom," the owl explains how these beginnings led to the development of the four basic types of Western musical instruments: brass, woodwinds, strings, and percussion. Written by Eugene Kim <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

10 November 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adventures in Music: Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shown as an accompanying short subject along with the 1963 re-release of Fantasia (1940). See more »


Owl: Today we're going to study about...
Boy bird: [looking at a comic book] Ancient history?
Susy Sparrow: Love and mystery?
Penelope Pinfeather: [writing on the blackboard] Mathematics?
Twin brothers: [balancing other students on their heads] Acrobatics?
Students: Readin', spellin'...
Bertie Birdbrain: Storytellin'?
Owl: No, no, no!
[bops Bertie on the head]
Owl: The study of musical instruments is the subject for today.
See more »


Featured in The Mouse Factory: Music (1972) See more »


A Toot And A Whistle And A Plunk And A Boom
Written by Sonny Burke & Jack Elliott
See more »

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User Reviews

Now That's Infotainment!
27 March 2004 | by (Pocatello, Idaho, USA) – See all my reviews

The best thing about "Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom" is that I actually learned something from it! Who knew I would learn something from a cartoon at the age of 22?! I've never been that involved in musical instruments, but it was very interesting and easy to learn from TWP&B on why horns are shaped the way they are. The short is also hilarious as we see how the caveman learned to make music in their primitive ways and how that music evolved over the ages. It's also fun to see the cavemen collaborate with the modern-day symphonies. There are just some great gags and jokes throughout this jam-packed cartoon.

We're also reintroduced to that school of singing birds from the cartoon short, "Melody." They were fun, but I thought they were a little annoying in this short. I was glad when they made the transition to the cavemen, because those cavemen stole the show! I've even seen them make cameos on the recent cartoon series, "Disney's House of Mouse." Hey, maybe we can even see them in the theme parks!!! That would be fun!

There are a lot of memorable and educational moments from this cartoon, and it will always remain a classic. In my opinion, the only thing holding it back a little are those birds. They've done better! Better just let the cavemen get the show going!!

My IMDb Rating: 9/10

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